NFL Draft: Interview with University of San Diego QB Judd Erickson

“Love the game, respect the game, and it’ll love you back.”

Since he could walk, Judd Erickson lived by this mantra. Then in third grade, his football career began with tackle football.

“I’ve been playing a little bit of flag football with my friends from school before that, but then one of my friends who I played with his tackle football team, they needed a quarterback, so they asked me to come over and play,” Erickson said.

This translated well once he got to high school where he played at Mountain Vista High School. Before graduating in 2017, he earned a plethora of honors. He was a two-time First-Team All-Conference Selection and All-Colorado Team selection as well as National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, among others.

Being a preferred walk-on at Colorado State allowed him to stay at home and play there for three seasons. He played at Colorado State and graduated with a BA in Marketing/Organization and Innovation Management as well as the top graduating senior in the Department of Marketing. 

When entering the transfer portal, that’s when things got interesting.

“And then from there, it got a little bit weird because that next spring I was still waiting to hear from schools and spent the spring still in Fort Collins. But then that’s when COVID happened, and so everything was a little bit crazy after that.” Erickson said. “Then that summer is when I ended up committing to the University of San Diego and I was ready to go out, well, come out here that July.”

Upon going to the University of San Diego, he played four games and completed 23-of-43 passes for 343 yards and three touchdowns. During his graduate years, he was selected to the PFL Academic Honor Roll twice.

With the pandemic playing a huge part in his academic and athletic career, Erickson and his team made the best of the situation at hand before they could play again. 

“We would split up offense and defense and then split the offense and defense into two different groups just to not break any rules on the restrictions of how many people you could have in an area and things like that,” Erickson said. “So we definitely had to get creative and find our ways to kind of get some extra work in and get on the same page with some other guys.”

Some things that Erickson and his team did include meeting at spaces in local parks or other open areas to get more reps in so they weren’t breaking health and safety restrictions. But now, Erickson gears up for the NFL Draft.

Erickson’s plan for the past few months has pretty much been staying busy but also took time when he could to reflect. He had to prep for the FCS Bowl in November, pro day after that, Combine after that, NFL Draft after that – and somewhere in between found time for sleep. 

“And so now everything has kind of shifted from the functionality of being able to play in a football game to really doing the best that we can to show out and show people what we can do on pro day,” Erickson said. “And so our throwing program and our workout program and everything has kind of shifted towards that and so had a ton of help and a lot of good resources from the school and the strength staff.”

Being as he is one of many great quarterbacks in the draft, Erickson has some edge in his position class which is something you can’t get on paper.

“I think really what separates me is kind of things that you might not find on a stat sheet. I think it’s the things like my leadership skills, my knowledge and my command of the offense, the relationship that I have with the guys around me, things like that,” Erickson said.

Now getting the opportunity to reflect on his declaration for the draft, Erickson is ready to give it his all. As the last few months show, he’s not slowing down now.

“It’s something that, while it is something that it’s cool and you can celebrate, it’s also one of those things where, all right, just because it’s time to declare for the draft, that doesn’t mean at all that the work is done. That really just means it’s time to put your head down and work a little bit harder even.” Erickson said.

Erickson attests his success in part to his family. Having support from the first time he threw a football to the last time he walked out of the locker room, he emphasized how much important his support system meant to him.

“My family has been huge for me. I can’t speak enough about how much they’ve sacrificed and how much they’ve been able to support me. My parents and my brother, really, they’ll do anything for me.” Erickson said. “I just know that if a team wants to give me that opportunity, that I’m going to run with it, but they’ll be so stoked for me no matter what the opportunity is. And so I can’t say thank you enough to them,”

Like with any current NFL player’s success, it starts with support. Players in the league get to the level of success they do because of what Erickson mentioned. He’s looking forward to what could potentially be a big break for him, much like what was with Brock Purdy just last season.

“I think it obviously goes to show the preparation that they’ve done, being able to make the transition because that’s what a lot of people talk about is it’s a different game,” Erickson said. “I think it’s awesome that guys are earning that reputation in the locker room of somebody who’s going to help early and do all that.”

And hopefully, Erickson could soon become an icon like his inspiration, Drew Brees.

“One person that I’ve looked up to, really my whole childhood and read his book and followed him for a long time now is Drew Brees. Drew Brees, he was my guy. I was a Saints fan. I still am a Saints fan.” He said.

In order to get to that position, Erickson knows the power of putting down your phone and getting to work – but also finding the balance of self-branding.

“I think a lot of people talk about now is just put the phone down and work. Whether that’s spending less time on your phone, but also you don’t have to go out and film everything you do and put up all this tape and put out all these cool videos and all that stuff.” Erickson said.

“I think it’s good to find a balance of putting your phone down, shutting it off, and put your head down and just go to work quietly in the dark because all that stuff will come to the light soon enough,”

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